In distinction from the material world

Sebastian Burger, Arghavan Khosravi, Zita Schüpferling, Serge Serum, and Shihori Yamamoto
Presented in collaboration with Residency Unlimited

Opening reception: Friday, August 2 from 6-8p
On view: August 2 through September 1, 2019

Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 12-6pm
Location: 88 Essex Street NY, NY 10002 (inside Essex Street Market)

Cuchifritos Gallery and Residency Unlimited are pleased to present their ninth annual collaboration, In distinction from the material world, featuring new work from artists Sebastian Burger, Arghavan Khosravi, Zita Schüpferling, Serge Serum, and Shihori Yamamoto.

Though distinct in their practices, each artist’s work negotiates the complex boundaries between an interior reality and the tangible world. Rendering the surreal, disembodied, and imperceptible, the work on view transforms fiction into a direct experience of the present.

Image: Shihori Yamamoto, Bloom (04/26/2019, Spring Insomnia), 2019, ink on paper, 30 in. x 22 in. 

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Sebastian Burger’s practice walks a fine line between representative and abstract painting. The starting point for his work consists of stylized imagery, often composed in a manner akin to collage, alternating precisely executed illusionism with two-dimensional representation. His work bears the influence of the legacy of surrealism and magic realism, as well as the metaphysical painting of Giorgio de Chirico, who has become a center of interest for a strong current of the emerging generation of young artists.”In my practice, I explore themes like the integrity of the human body, it’s physicalness and the construction of identity through materiality, textures, and surfaces. Furthermore, there are references and hints towards high and low brow art, art history, fashion as well as sexuality and violence. I am trying to create works that look back at their observers, draw them in with delicate textures and gradients but at some point may almost repulse them through the harshness of shapes, forms, and colors. I see my paintings as sediments of meaning derived from a multitude of references which may not seem logical at first but start to make sense through an intuitive approach. I think this ambivalence is what can keep a work of art interesting over a long period of time. Aluminum panels as the main support for my oil painting give the work a very clean almost industrial look-and-feel which augments the aforementioned themes.

Arghavan Khosravi creates mixed media paintings which probe personal and political experiences from her native Iran, and which interweave historical Persian motifs with 21st-century imagery borrowed from popular culture and contemporary media. Replete with surreal situations, objects, and characters that demand a narrative only the viewer can provide, the paintings evoke a sense of historical and personal affairs being out of balance. State monuments, state actors, archeological relics and traditional Iranian textiles ornament and frame Khosravi’s images both visually and culturally, while painted figures appear unmoored by gravity or masked by unexplained blindfolds. Featuring tromp-l’oeil female bodies that reach beyond national boundaries and traditional historical narratives, Khosravi’s detailed works provide an alternative space for reflection within reality. As a reaction to the Muslim travel ban in the US, she also created a series of paintings that incorporate her Iranian passport as their foundation, replete with situations, objects, and characters that demand a narrative only the viewer can provide.

Zita Schüpferling creates site-responsive subtle performances and interventions in space and place. She has a passion for form and material, yet the main focus of her practice is the audience encountered space. Currently she is interested in creating and interfering atmospheres. In recent performances, group exhibitions function as a stage for her work to take place. In an ongoing project she hires actresses and actors who are asked to be present at exhibition openings, as visitors among the visitors, distributing positive climate on the attendees with minimal gestures.

Serge Serum is a self-taught Los Angeles based artist who does not scare easily when it comes to the complexities of the human psyche. Growing up in rough neighborhoods with high gang violence allowed him to take interest in graffiti which later transition to fine art. Serum work often creates deliberate and visible tension of opposition between an almost violent application of paint to render facial features contrasting with the surrounding flatness of the image. His work has a curiously chaotic, and yet grounded feel to it. Serge endows a feeling of ease in existing within what seems to be a messy actuality. The bold style facilitates a sort of fill-in-the-blanks dialogue with viewers that is captivating. In 2017, he did a mural at Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain), an old American spy tower from WW2 that is now a museum of murals in Berlin.

The New York based artist Shihori Yamamoto utilizes her background in architecture to create large site-specific installations and intricate drawings. Yamamoto’s work deeply relates to her daily experiences with her life-long mental illness. She creates artworks which are therapeutic repeating tasks such as drawing and connecting elaborate lines and stitching rags. Yamamoto starts producing a piece without setting a clear goal. Yamamoto’s oeuvre celebrates the dichotomies of brightness versus darkness, chaos versus order, and life versus death. Her work expresses the artist’s obsession with warm colors, which have protected her from insecurity since early childhood.

Artists Alliance Inc. is 501c3 not for profit organization located on the Lower East Side of New York City within the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. Cuchifritos Gallery is supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Cuchifritos Gallery programming is made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. We thank the New York City Economic Development Corporation and individual supporters of Artists Alliance Inc for their continued support. Special thanks go to our team of dedicated volunteers and interns, without whom this program would not be possible.